A wind farm could be built on a site of special scientific interest.
Bolton Council has provisionally agreed for wind turbines to be sited at Red Moss nature reserve in Horwich.
At a meeting of the Executive Member for Strategy and External Relations committee – led by Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of the council – the terms for the wind turbine plans were provisionally approved, subject to being granted planning permission.
The issue was discussed during part of the meeting from which members of the press and public were excluded, and a confidential report was submitted by the Director of Corporate Resources.
But is thought that the application will be for five or six wind turbines, which will sit on both council-owned land and land owned by Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority in the nature reserve.
It is believed that electricity generated by the turbines could be sold to the National Grid to generate income for the council.
But a spokesman for Bolton Council said it was too early to say how this would work in practise.
Red Moss is home to one of Greater Manchester’s largest varieties of moss species and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a key breeding ground for a vast array of wildlife.
The 100-acre site is a nationally important lowland raised bog believed to be 10,000 years old.
In 1997, plans by Bolton Council and UK Waste to build a supertip on the site were refused by the council’s planning committee after a lengthy campaign by residents, pressure groups and politicians.
At the time, Cllr Jack Foster, chairman of Bolton’s planning and environment committee, said Red Moss was “definitely safe for ever”.
The news of the wind turbines has caused concern among environment campaigners, who are also opposing plans for a turbine at Markland Farm in Blackrod due to the close proximity to homes.
John Price, chairman of the Blackrod and Horwich Environmental Action Group, said: “Obviously this is a conservation area and it is an emotive plot of land.
“We are concerned that we could end up with a big wind farm around Blackrod and Horwich made up of little applications.
“At this stage, we do not know what effect wind turbines would have on the habitat there, that is something that will need to be looked at.
“People in Horwich would be distraught if that was to be put at risk.
“At the moment we do not know so we will need to wait for more information if a planning application is submitted.”
The Lancashire Wildlife Trust, which maintains the land, would not comment on the proposal.
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